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JRR Tolkien Portal

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Adaptations of Middle-earth: From Deitch and Bakshi to Jackson

The long and tangled history of cinematic attempts to bring the world of Middle-earth to the big screen is full of fascinating what-ifs, insurmountable setbacks, and ultimately a slew of good, bad, and utterly bizarre movies as a result. In this module we will dive deep into the cinematic adaptations of Middle-earth and watch our way through the Gene Deitch Hobbit (1966), the Rankin/Bass Hobbit (1977), the Bakshi Lord of the Rings (1978), the Rankin/Bass Return of the King (1980), and the Peter Jackson Trilogies over the course of a month, meeting for discussion of each film's cinematic and adaptational merits (or lack thereof). We will also cover some of the film versions that almost happened (such as John Boorman's completed script) and the complicated history behind the production of the films that did come to light. There is a lot of material to cover, but where there's a whip, there's a way.
Precepted by Patrick Lyon

Advanced Latin: Hobbitus Ille

Latin is such a great language that many wonderful modern texts have been translated into the language: Dr. Seuss, Alice in Wonderland, Asterix and Obelix, Harry Potter…..and Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Join this module to read these beloved stories in Latin!
Precepted by Dr. Larry Swain

Advanced Old English: Heroic Elegies

J. R. R. Tolkien suggested in his seminal Monsters and the Critics that Beowulf is a heroic elegy. In this module, we will translate some of the Old English Heroic Elegies such as "Deor", "Wife’s Lament", "Husband’s Message", "The Ruin", and if time others. Not only translating, the question is how these “elegies” relate to Beowulf I, or Tolkien’s own work. The module emphasizes translation and working in Old English, but also how that applies to other literature (i. e. this stuff isn’t in a vacuum!)
Precepted by Dr. Larry Swain

Advanced Old English: Beowulf I

Spend the time reading and translating in a relaxed manner with friends! This beautiful, moving, narrative poem is a joy to work with and I hope you will join me for a month of study.
Precepted by Dr. Larry Swain

Advanced Old English: Beowulf II

Let's continue reading and translating Beowulf in a relaxed manner with friends! This beautiful, moving, narrative poem is a joy to work with and I hope you will join me for another month of study.
Precepted by Dr. Larry Swain

Advanced Old English: Tolkien's Old English Poetry

Most people know that J. R. R. Tolkien was a scholar as well as a writer of speculative fiction. His scholarship was extensive and one of his primary areas was Old English language and literature. But fewer fans know that he also composed poetry in Old English, especially in the early stages of his career. This module will attempt to gather and translate Tolkien's Old English poetry from the various sources in HoME and other sources where they are printed.
Precepted by Dr. Larry Swain

A Journey Through The History of the Hobbit Series of 3

Just as Christopher Tolkien did for the rest of his father’s Middle-earth works, John Rateliff has compiled the manuscripts and early versions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and presented them with notes and commentary. In this three-part series, we will work our way through Rateliff’s book, The History of the Hobbit. From the first drafts where Gandalf was called Bladorthin (and Thorin was called Gandalf) to the later versions made to better fit with The Lord of the Rings, this SPACE series will give you a much better understanding of how The Hobbit was crafted and a new appreciation for the story that, in some respects, started it all. As well as Rateliff’s material, these modules will also feature some never-before-seen visualizations of The Hobbit draft texts from the Digital Tolkien Project.

Module 1: Chapters I through VII
Module 2: Chapter VIII to the end of The Second Phase
Module 3: The Third Phase onwards
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The History of the Hobbit 1 First in the Series

In Module 1 of our journey through The History of the Hobbit we will explore Chapters I through VII.

Just as Christopher Tolkien did for the rest of his father’s Middle-earth works, John Rateliff has compiled the manuscripts and early versions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and presented them with notes and commentary. In this three-part series, we will work our way through Rateliff’s book, The History of the Hobbit. From the first drafts where Gandalf was called Bladorthin (and Thorin was called Gandalf) to the later versions made to better fit with The Lord of the Rings, this SPACE series will give you a much better understanding of how The Hobbit was crafted and a new appreciation for the story that, in some respects, started it all. As well as Rateliff’s material, these modules will also feature some never-before-seen visualizations of The Hobbit draft texts from the Digital Tolkien Project.

Module 1: Chapters I through VII
Module 2: Chapter VIII to the end of The Second Phase
Module 3: The Third Phase onwards
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The History of the Hobbit 2 Continuing Series

In Module 2 of our journey through The History of the Hobbit we will explore Chapter VIII to the end of The Second Phase.

Just as Christopher Tolkien did for the rest of his father’s Middle-earth works, John Rateliff has compiled the manuscripts and early versions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and presented them with notes and commentary. In this three-part series, we will work our way through Rateliff’s book, The History of the Hobbit. From the first drafts where Gandalf was called Bladorthin (and Thorin was called Gandalf) to the later versions made to better fit with The Lord of the Rings, this SPACE series will give you a much better understanding of how The Hobbit was crafted and a new appreciation for the story that, in some respects, started it all. As well as Rateliff’s material, these modules will also feature some never-before-seen visualizations of The Hobbit draft texts from the Digital Tolkien Project.

Module 1: Chapters I through VII
Module 2: Chapter VIII to the end of The Second Phase
Module 3: The Third Phase onwards
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The History of the Hobbit 3 Continuing Series

In Module 3 of our journey through The History of the Hobbit we will explore The Third Phase onwards.

Just as Christopher Tolkien did for the rest of his father’s Middle-earth works, John Rateliff has compiled the manuscripts and early versions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and presented them with notes and commentary. In this three-part series, we will work our way through Rateliff’s book, The History of the Hobbit. From the first drafts where Gandalf was called Bladorthin (and Thorin was called Gandalf) to the later versions made to better fit with The Lord of the Rings, this SPACE series will give you a much better understanding of how The Hobbit was crafted and a new appreciation for the story that, in some respects, started it all. As well as Rateliff’s material, these modules will also feature some never-before-seen visualizations of The Hobbit draft texts from the Digital Tolkien Project.

Module 1: Chapters I through VII
Module 2: Chapter VIII to the end of The Second Phase
Module 3: The Third Phase onwards
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The History of Middle-earth (HoMe Series) Series of 12

Christopher Tolkien’s twelve volumes on the History of Middle-earth give unparalleled insight into the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They contain early drafts of familiar texts, different conceptualizations of well-known stories, and in some cases completely new material.

In this series of SPACE modules, we will tackle one volume per month over the course of a year. Each month-long module will provide an overview of a volume in context as well as readings from and discussion of highlights in that volume. Each module will include a guest appearance from Tolkien scholar John Garth.

Whether you’ve read the History of Middle-earth before or not, the hope is that these modules will make the volumes more accessible and will enhance your appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no requirement that you do every single module in the series as each will be largely standalone, although in later modules, references will be made to earlier volumes.
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The History of Middle-earth: The Book of Lost Tales, Part One (HoMe 1) First in the Series

Christopher Tolkien’s twelve volumes on the History of Middle-earth give unparalleled insight into the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They contain early drafts of familiar texts, different conceptualizations of well-known stories, and in some cases completely new material.

This module is part of a series of modules covering all twelve volumes of The History of Middle-earth. This particular module will provide an overview of Volume One, The Book of Lost Tales Part One, as well as readings from and discussion of highlights in that volume. It will include a guest appearance from Tolkien scholar John Garth.

Whether you’ve read the History of Middle-earth before or not, the hope is that these modules will make the volumes more accessible and will enhance your appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no requirement that you do every single module in the series as each will be largely standalone, although in later modules, references will be made to earlier volumes.
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The History of Middle-earth: The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two (HoMe 2) Continuing Series

Christopher Tolkien’s twelve volumes on the History of Middle-earth give unparalleled insight into the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They contain early drafts of familiar texts, different conceptualizations of well-known stories, and in some cases completely new material.

This module is part of a series of modules covering all twelve volumes of The History of Middle-earth. This particular module will provide an overview of Volume Two, The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, as well as readings from and discussion of highlights in that volume. It will include a guest appearance from Tolkien scholar John Garth.

Whether you’ve read The History of Middle-earth before or not, the hope is that these modules will make the volumes more accessible and will enhance your appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no requirement that you do every single module in the series as each will be largely standalone, although in later modules, references will be made to earlier volumes.
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The History of Middle-earth: The Lays of Beleriand (HoMe 3) Continuing Series

Christopher Tolkien’s twelve volumes on The History of Middle-earth give unparalleled insight into the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They contain early drafts of familiar texts, different conceptualizations of well-known stories, and in some cases completely new material.

This module is part of a series of modules covering all twelve volumes of The History of Middle-earth. This particular module will provide an overview of Volume Three, The Lays of Beleriand, as well as readings from and discussion of highlights in that volume. It will include a guest appearance from Tolkien scholar John Garth.

Whether you’ve read the History of Middle-earth before or not, the hope is that these modules will make the volumes more accessible and will enhance your appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no requirement that you do every single module in the series as each will be largely standalone, although in later modules, references will be made to earlier volumes.
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The History of Middle-earth: The Lost Road and Other Writings (HoMe 5) Continuing Series

Christopher Tolkien’s twelve volumes on the History of Middle-earth give unparalleled insight into the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They contain early drafts of familiar texts, different conceptualizations of well-known stories, and in some cases completely new material.

This module is part of a series of modules covering all twelve volumes of The History of Middle-earth. This particular module will provide an overview of Volume Five, The Lost Road and Other Writings, as well as readings from and discussion of highlights in that volume. It will include a guest appearance from Tolkien scholar John Garth.

Whether you’ve read the History of Middle-earth before or not, the hope is that these modules will make the volumes more accessible and will enhance your appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no requirement that you do every single module in the series as each will be largely standalone, although in later modules, references will be made to earlier volumes.
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The History of Middle-earth: The Peoples of Middle-earth (HoMe 12) Continuing Series

Christopher Tolkien’s twelve volumes on the History of Middle-earth give unparalleled insight into the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They contain early drafts of familiar texts, different conceptualizations of well-known stories, and in some cases completely new material.

This module is part of a series of modules covering all twelve volumes of The History of Middle-earth. This particular module will provide an overview of the final book (Volume Twelve), The Peoples of Middle-earth, as well as readings from and discussion of highlights in that volume. It will include a guest appearance from Tolkien scholar John Garth.

Whether you’ve read the History of Middle-earth before or not, the hope is that these modules will make the volumes more accessible and will enhance your appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no requirement that you do every single module in the series as each will be largely standalone, although in later modules, references will be made to earlier volumes.
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The History of Middle-earth: The Shaping of Middle-earth (HoMe 4) Continuing Series

Christopher Tolkien’s twelve volumes on the History of Middle-earth give unparalleled insight into the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They contain early drafts of familiar texts, different conceptualizations of well-known stories, and in some cases completely new material.

This module is part of a series of modules covering all twelve volumes of The History of Middle-earth. This particular module will provide an overview of Volume Four, The Shaping of Middle-earth, as well as readings from and discussion of highlights in that volume. It will include a guest appearance from Tolkien scholar John Garth.

Whether you’ve read the History of Middle-earth before or not, the hope is that these modules will make the volumes more accessible and will enhance your appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no requirement that you do every single module in the series as each will be largely standalone, although in later modules, references will be made to earlier volumes.
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The History of the Lord of the Rings: Sauron Defeated (HoMe 9) Continuing Series

Christopher Tolkien’s twelve volumes on the History of Middle-earth give unparalleled insight into the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They contain early drafts of familiar texts, different conceptualizations of well-known stories, and in some cases completely new material.

This module is part of a series of modules covering all twelve volumes of The History of Middle-earth. This particular module will provide an overview of the fourth and final book in The History of The Lord of the Rings, The Treason of Isengard (Volume Nine of The History of the Middle-earth), as well as readings from and discussion of highlights in that volume. It will include a guest appearance from Tolkien scholar John Garth.

Whether you’ve read the History of Middle-earth before or not, the hope is that these modules will make the volumes more accessible and will enhance your appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no requirement that you do every single module in the series as each will be largely standalone, although in later modules, references will be made to earlier volumes.
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The History of the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Shadow (HoMe 6) Continuing Series

Christopher Tolkien’s twelve volumes on the History of Middle-earth give unparalleled insight into the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They contain early drafts of familiar texts, different conceptualizations of well-known stories, and in some cases completely new material.

This module is part of a series of modules covering all twelve volumes of The History of Middle-earth. This particular module will provide an overview of the first book in The History of The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the Shadow (Volume Six of The History of the Middle-earth), as well as readings from and discussion of highlights in that volume. It will include a guest appearance from Tolkien scholar John Garth.

Whether you’ve read the History of Middle-earth before or not, the hope is that these modules will make the volumes more accessible and will enhance your appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no requirement that you do every single module in the series as each will be largely standalone, although in later modules, references will be made to earlier volumes.
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The History of the Lord of the Rings: The Treason of Isengard (HoMe 7) Continuing Series

Christopher Tolkien’s twelve volumes on the History of Middle-earth give unparalleled insight into the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They contain early drafts of familiar texts, different conceptualizations of well-known stories, and in some cases completely new material.

This module is part of a series of modules covering all twelve volumes of The History of Middle-earth. This particular module will provide an overview of the second book in The History of The Lord of the Rings, The Treason of Isengard (Volume Seven of The History of the Middle-earth), as well as readings from and discussion of highlights in that volume. It will include a guest appearance from Tolkien scholar John Garth.

Whether you’ve read the History of Middle-earth before or not, the hope is that these modules will make the volumes more accessible and will enhance your appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no requirement that you do every single module in the series as each will be largely standalone, although in later modules, references will be made to earlier volumes.
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The History of the Lord of the Rings: The War of the Ring (HoMe 8) Continuing Series

Christopher Tolkien’s twelve volumes on the History of Middle-earth give unparalleled insight into the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They contain early drafts of familiar texts, different conceptualizations of well-known stories, and in some cases completely new material.

This module is part of a series of modules covering all twelve volumes of The History of Middle-earth. This particular module will provide an overview of the third book in The History of The Lord of the Rings, The War of the Ring (Volume Eight of The History of the Middle-earth), as well as readings from and discussion of highlights in that volume. It will include a guest appearances from Tolkien scholar, John Garth, and from Marquette University Archivist, William Fliss.

Whether you’ve read the History of Middle-earth before or not, the hope is that these modules will make the volumes more accessible and will enhance your appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no requirement that you do every single module in the series as each will be largely standalone, although in later modules, references will be made to earlier volumes.
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The Later Silmarillion, Part One: Morgoth's Ring (HoMe 10) Continuing Series

Christopher Tolkien’s twelve volumes on the History of Middle-earth give unparalleled insight into the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They contain early drafts of familiar texts, different conceptualizations of well-known stories, and in some cases completely new material.

This module is part of a series of modules covering all twelve volumes of The History of Middle-earth. This particular module will provide an overview of the first book in The Later Silmarillion, Morgoth's Ring (Volume Ten of The History of the Middle-earth), as well as readings from and discussion of highlights in that volume. It will include a guest appearance from Tolkien scholar John Garth.

Whether you’ve read the History of Middle-earth before or not, the hope is that these modules will make the volumes more accessible and will enhance your appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no requirement that you do every single module in the series as each will be largely standalone, although in later modules, references will be made to earlier volumes.
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The Later Silmarillion, Part Two: The War of the Jewels (HoMe 11) Continuing Series

Christopher Tolkien’s twelve volumes on the History of Middle-earth give unparalleled insight into the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They contain early drafts of familiar texts, different conceptualizations of well-known stories, and in some cases completely new material.

This module is part of a series of modules covering all twelve volumes of The History of Middle-earth. This particular module will provide an overview of the second book in The Later Silmarillion, The War of the Jewels (Volume Eleven of The History of the Middle-earth), as well as readings from and discussion of highlights in that volume. It will include a guest appearance from Tolkien scholar John Garth.

Whether you’ve read the History of Middle-earth before or not, the hope is that these modules will make the volumes more accessible and will enhance your appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no requirement that you do every single module in the series as each will be largely standalone, although in later modules, references will be made to earlier volumes.
Precepted by James Tauber

Are You Tolkien To Me?

Why are the works of J.R.R. Tolkien still so relevant to us in the 21st century? In this course, we will look at some of the central themes of his novels, including Family, Home, Good vs. Evil, and Loss, exploring how Tolkien is still speaking to us almost fifty years after his death.

There are no required texts for this course, however, you may find having a copy of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings very useful (any edition).
Precepted by Dr. Sara Brown

Big Bold Beowulf: A Study of the Poem

Always wanted to study Beowulf? Here's your opportunity. In our 8 hours together, we will delve into the worlds of the poem, examine the major critical elements, and seek to understand the poem better.
Precepted by Dr. Larry Swain

Book Club: J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (Books I - VI) Series of 6

Join Ms. Elise for a cozy, relaxed Book Club series, where participants come to our Club meetings with their own reflections and discussion questions about the text. YOU get to guide the magic! Each month, our readings will focus on one of the six Books in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Bring a cozy blanket, a cup of tea, and enjoy!

Book Club: J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring (Part One) First in the Series

Join Ms. Elise for a cozy, relaxed Book Club series, where participants come to our Club meetings with their own reflections and discussion questions about the text. YOU get to guide the magic! In this module, our readings will specifically focus on Book I of The Lord of the Rings. Bring a cozy blanket, a cup of tea, and enjoy!

Book Club: J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring (Part Two) Continuing Series

Join Ms. Elise for a cozy, relaxed Book Club series, where participants come to our Club meetings with their own reflections and discussion questions about the text. YOU get to guide the magic! In this module, our readings will specifically focus on Book II of The Lord of the Rings. Bring a cozy blanket, a cup of tea, and enjoy!

Book Club: J.R.R. Tolkien's The Return of the King (Part One) Continuing Series

Join Ms. Elise for a cozy, relaxed Book Club series, where participants come to our Club meetings with their own reflections and discussion questions about the text. YOU get to guide the magic! In this module, our readings will specifically focus on Book V of The Lord of the Rings. Bring a cozy blanket, a cup of tea, and enjoy!

Book Club: J.R.R. Tolkien's The Return of the King (Part Two) Continuing Series

Join Ms. Elise for a cozy, relaxed Book Club series, where participants come to our Club meetings with their own reflections and discussion questions about the text. YOU get to guide the magic! In this module, our readings will specifically focus on Book VI of The Lord of the Rings. Bring a cozy blanket, a cup of tea, and enjoy!

Book Club: J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers (Part One) Continuing Series

Join Ms. Elise for a cozy, relaxed Book Club series, where participants come to our Club meetings with their own reflections and discussion questions about the text. YOU get to guide the magic! In this module, our readings will specifically focus on Book III of The Lord of the Rings. Bring a cozy blanket, a cup of tea, and enjoy!

Book Club: J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers (Part Two) Continuing Series

Join Ms. Elise for a cozy, relaxed Book Club series, where participants come to our Club meetings with their own reflections and discussion questions about the text. YOU get to guide the magic! In this module, our readings will specifically focus on Book IV of The Lord of the Rings. Bring a cozy blanket, a cup of tea, and enjoy!

Bridge to The Silmarillion

This course is intended for people who have read The Lord of the Rings and are beginners to The Silmarillion. We will re-read various passages from Lord of the Rings that make reference to First Age people, places, and events: the mighty Elf-friends of old, the Exile of the Elves; the Tale of Tinúviel; the story of Eärendil and more. We will whet our appetites and gather some motivating questions that will make a future journey into The Silmarillion easier and more enjoyable.
Precepted by James Tauber

Creative Writing: World-Building in Action



How do you world-build without losing your reader? In this module, we will consider techniques on the scene level to embed world-building seamlessly into your narrative without bogging the reader down in exposition. Considering examples from J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin and Frank Herbert, we will learn from the masters to bring your world to vivid life. Focusing on viewpoint, characterization, word choice, and narrative conflict, we will workshop how to draw your reader in and make your universe feel like a real place. No matter your genre, this module will enrich your commercial fiction and help make your vision a reality.


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Earendel Sprang Up From The Ocean's Cup: The Poetic Corpus of J.R.R. Tolkien

Philologist, Professor, Parent, Friend, Author, Scholar, and Father of Fantasy. Tolkien was all of these things and more, but throughout his whole life (and in all these roles) he was also a poet. Tolkien's poetry often gets short shrift, as it is the first thing skipped by the amateur reader of The Lord of the Rings. Yet poetry was also the vehicle by which Tolkien first expressed his creative impulses, his love for his wife, and even his very first foray into the world of Middle-earth. With the new Collected Poems of Tolkien released in September, join us on our own journey through the poetic works of the man behind the legendarium. From his earliest "Earendel" poem to the structure of Quenya poetry, we will discuss the meaning and the structure behind his poetry in a masterclass that will introduce students to the elements of poetic scansion and apply those principles to the developing skills and interests of the author of the century over a span of more than sixty years.
Precepted by Patrick Lyon

Eucatastrophe and Tragedy in Tolkien

We will explore Tolkien’s understanding of these two essential aspects of human literary experience, from the horns of the Rohirrim to the Children of Húrin.

Exploring Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham

In this relaxed, discussion-oriented module, we will explore these two lesser-known short stories by Tolkien. While Smith of Wootton Major takes us to Fäerie in a story full of beautiful imagery and sorrow, Farmer Giles of Ham transports us to a comical medieval world full of unforgettable adventures and characters such as giants, Garm the talking dog, and the arrogant dragon Chrysophylax.

FanFiction: Middle-earth

Do you imagine other tales set in Tolkien's beautiful Middle-earth? First person? FRP campaign design? Screen plays? Other minds and hands will come together to create and discuss "what if" for our own fanfiction. We will use a little peer-reading and a lot of focused discussion to move each writer deeper into the story they love. Expect to end the month with a folder full of story seeds or big progress on one big project.
Precepted by Sparrow F. Alden

Ink Spots and Tea Stains: What we Learn from C.S. Lewis's Writing Habits

C.S. Lewis is one of the most prolific and influential writers of the 20th century. And yet, in his early career as an Oxford don, he viewed himself as a failed poet. Moreover, his most canonical and transformational writing happened during the most stress-filled periods of his life. This short course allows students to peek into the writing life of C.S. Lewis. Our goal is to see through the lines of printed text by visiting the letters and archival remains of Lewis in a virtual setting. Most of C.S. Lewis's papers remain undigitized and unpublished, available only locally at archives in North America and England.

As Professor Brenton Dickieson has visited these archives, he is able to invite students to appreciate C.S. Lewis's writing life by looking at the way that he consciously and unconsciously built his literary career. This course is for writers who are developing their own habits and literary life-prints, as well as folks who are curious about C.S. Lewis's life beyond the biographies and bestselling books.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Text, Translation, Film

Can Sir Gawain keep his honor without losing his head? This short classic of Middle English chivalric romance follows Gawain on a quest testing his heroism, social etiquette, sexual virtue, and existential sense of self. This course explores: first, the extraordinary history of the single, unique manuscript which preserves this poem (as it “slept” on a library shelf for 400 years, escaped destruction by fire, and was eventually rediscovered in the 19th century); second, the translations which brought this poem to a twentieth century readership – focusing in particular on J.R.R. Tolkien’s; and finally, the 2021 film by David Lowery.
Precepted by Dr. Liam Daley

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life in Letters Series of 4

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? Come and take a deep dive, attempting to do just that, as we look into the life of the maker of Middle-earth! This series will go on an adventure through the life of Tolkien over three months through the lens of the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. As the module follows the narrative presented in Tolkien's own words in his letters, the class sessions will allow for discussions of Tolkien's thoughts and problems as he raises them --- as well as the chance to read and discuss selections of his creative works along the way.

Throughout the course, we will be discussing the events of Tolkien’s life in tandem with the letters and filling out a more complete picture of the man through his work, his personal life, and his creative endeavours. Names, places, and stages of history can all too easily become abstractions on a page but, in this course, we will see the way in which Tolkien's personal environment was intimately connected to his works, and how it shaped the life of the man behind the legendarium.

You can join us for the whole series or just jump in a month at a time as we explore the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien!

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life in Letters 1 First in the Series

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? Come and take a deep dive, attempting to do just that, as we look into the life of the maker of Middle-earth! This series will go on an adventure through the life of Tolkien over three months through the lens of the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. As the module follows the narrative presented in Tolkien's own words in his letters, the class sessions will allow for discussions of Tolkien's thoughts and problems as he raises them --- as well as the chance to read and discuss selections of his creative works along the way.

Throughout the course, we will be discussing the events of Tolkien’s life in tandem with the letters and filling out a more complete picture of the man through his work, his personal life, and his creative endeavours. Names, places, and stages of history can all too easily become abstractions on a page but, in this course, we will see the way in which Tolkien's personal environment was intimately connected to his works, and how it shaped the life of the man behind the legendarium.

You can join us for the whole series or just jump in a month at a time as we explore the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien!

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life in Letters 2 Continuing Series

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? Come and take a deep dive, attempting to do just that, as we look into the life of the maker of Middle-earth! This series will go on an adventure through the life of Tolkien over three months through the lens of the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. As the module follows the narrative presented in Tolkien's own words in his letters, the class sessions will allow for discussions of Tolkien's thoughts and problems as he raises them --- as well as the chance to read and discuss selections of his creative works along the way.

Throughout the course, we will be discussing the events of Tolkien’s life in tandem with the letters and filling out a more complete picture of the man through his work, his personal life, and his creative endeavours. Names, places, and stages of history can all too easily become abstractions on a page but, in this course, we will see the way in which Tolkien's personal environment was intimately connected to his works, and how it shaped the life of the man behind the legendarium.

You can join us for the whole series or just jump in a month at a time as we explore the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien!

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life in Letters 3 Continuing Series

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? Come and take a deep dive, attempting to do just that, as we look into the life of the maker of Middle-earth! This series will go on an adventure through the life of Tolkien over three months through the lens of the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. As the module follows the narrative presented in Tolkien's own words in his letters, the class sessions will allow for discussions of Tolkien's thoughts and problems as he raises them --- as well as the chance to read and discuss selections of his creative works along the way.

Throughout the course, we will be discussing the events of Tolkien’s life in tandem with the letters and filling out a more complete picture of the man through his work, his personal life, and his creative endeavours. Names, places, and stages of history can all too easily become abstractions on a page but, in this course, we will see the way in which Tolkien's personal environment was intimately connected to his works, and how it shaped the life of the man behind the legendarium.

You can join us for the whole series or just jump in a month at a time as we explore the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien!

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life in Letters 4 Continuing Series

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? Come and take a deep dive, attempting to do just that, as we look into the life of the maker of Middle-earth! This series will go on an adventure through the life of Tolkien over several months through the lens of the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. As the module follows the narrative presented in Tolkien's own words in his letters, the class sessions will allow for discussions of Tolkien's thoughts and problems as he raises them --- as well as the chance to read and discuss selections of his creative works along the way.

Throughout the course, we will be discussing the events of Tolkien’s life in tandem with the letters and filling out a more complete picture of the man through his work, his personal life, and his creative endeavours. Names, places, and stages of history can all too easily become abstractions on a page but, in this course, we will see the way in which Tolkien's personal environment was intimately connected to his works, and how it shaped the life of the man behind the legendarium.

You can join us for the whole series or just jump in a month at a time as we explore the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien!

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrún

Love, power, betrayal, death; the occasional dragon and cursed ring. All these are to be found in the legends of the Vǫlsungs and Niflungs, amongst the most popular and abiding legends of the medieval Germanic-speaking and Norse worlds. J.R.R. Tolkien reworked these into two poems in Modern English patterned after the alliterative style of Old Norse poems. In this module, we read Tolkien’s poems and their accompanying commentary to see how Tolkien wrought his own retelling of these ancient tales, and we’ll trace the connections across from the original medieval legends through Tolkien’s retelling to his original works of fantasy set in Middle-earth.
Precepted by Dr. Carl Anderson

J.R.R. Tolkien's Letters from Father Christmas

Join Ms. Elise for a cozy, relaxed Book Club setting and discuss the joy of Tolkien’s beloved Christmas tale.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit

Join Ms. Elise for a cozy and relaxed Book Club as we read and discuss J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic, The Hobbit.

Knewbetta’s Guide to The Silmarillion

Is The Silmarillion your favorite book? Is it your least-favorite book? Whether you’re reading it for the first or fiftieth time, KnewBettaDoBetta will help you see it in a more fun, relatable way!

Tolkien’s The Silmarillion is inarguably a complex read. KnewBetta seeks to make it more accessible by teaching the lore in an understandable way. His hope is that everyone can share his knowledge and passion! This course will look at characters, relationships, relatable themes, and meanings that you may not have explored yet.
Precepted by Knewbetta

Lowdham’s Report on the Adunaic Language

Tolkien wrote a grammar of the Adunaic language, the language of Númenor, as part of his Notion Club Papers in the 1940s. Unlike his other language invention, this work was never revisited and so, even though it is incomplete, we don’t have to sort through multiple layers of corrections and changes-of-mind. This is an uncharacteristically “clean” description of one of Tolkien’s languages.

In this module, we’ll take on the role of budding philologists, working our way through the “Report”. We’ll not only get more insight into Tolkien’s language invention but into grammar, philology, and linguistics in general. We’ll draw comparisons with “real” languages of the primary world and see how languages were described in the tradition Tolkien was trained in.
Precepted by James Tauber

Pity in The Lord of the Rings

If ‘the Pity of Bilbo’ does not ‘rule the fate of many’, the malice of Sauron will. Pity is essential, yet offers no defense in the end against the pull of the Ring’s power. So Gandalf paradoxically tells us. In this module we shall discuss passages that shed light on this central conflict in The Lord of the Rings.

Religion in the Life and Works of J.R.R. Tolkien

Tolkien drew upon a wide range of religious, philosophical, and metaphysical sources in shaping his legendarium, including Greek, Norse, Germanic, and Celtic paganisms, Catholic Christianities, Eastern Orthodox and Jewish mysticisms, various Neo-Platonisms, and western esoteric traditions among others. Join the discussion as we explore in some depth these sources and how Tolkien weaves them into his web of story-telling and world-building.
Precepted by Dr. Robert Steed

Representing Utopia through the Ages

While the idea of establishing an ‘actual’ utopia has been disparaged since the first half of the twentieth century from socio-political perspectives (e.g. the failed age of ideology from 1917-1945), literary and related cultural narratives have a long history of imagining and representing utopia (also paradise, the golden age, etc.). These utopias often function to criticize the problematic social norms and climates of their times as well as providing progressive imaginings for a better future, often based on certain ideals or virtues. In this module, we go on a chronological tour of different representations of utopia, including: the paleolithic utopia of hunter-gatherers (e.g. as discussed in Harari’s Homo Sapiens) (before 10,000 BC), the Bronze Age utopia of Minoan Crete (4000-1400 BCE), Plato’s mythical island of Atlantis (ca 400 BC), the pastoral utopia of the Roman poet Virgil (ca 40 BC), the New World utopia of Sir Thomas More (1516), the Enlightened, reasoned utopia of Robinson Crusoe (1719), Tolkien’s fantasy utopia of Númenor (ca 1940), and more.

She Watered It With her Tears: Grief, Mourning, and Death in Tolkien's Legendarium

Among the many themes Tolkien contemplates through his legendarium, that of grief and mourning is prominent. In this class, we will unfold the implications of expressions of grief and mourning in his work. For example, why do lamentations matter, and how might they offer healing? Why does Nienna weep? Are there cases of “inappropriate” grief? What roles do grief and mourning play in the creation of wisdom and beauty? Does Elven grief have special characteristics? What about that of Dwarves and Humans? We will explore these topics and more.
Precepted by Dr. Robert Steed

The Body in Tolkien's Legendarium

This module will focus on bodies in Middle-earth from a multitude of directions and fields of enquiry. We will address fascinating subjects such as Sauron's body, the physical differences between Gandalf the Grey and Gandalf the White and the age old question "Do Balrogs have wings?" [No, the case is not settled on this.] We will explore how Tolkien writes about gendered and racialized bodies and how he uses slap-stick carnivalesque bodily humor in The Hobbit. We will explore the artwork and film images too. The point will be that bodies very much mattered in the narratives that make up Tolkien's Cauldron of Story, and they matter in his Legendarium!
Precepted by Dr. Chris Vaccaro

The History, People, and Culture of Tolkien's Númenor

With the publication of The Fall of Númenor (November 2022) we finally have much of Tolkien’s writing on this period in the history Middle-earth drawn together in one place. This offers a unique opportunity, at a moment when the island of Númenor has come to greater public awareness via Amazon’s show ‘The Rings of Power’, to fully examine this aspect of Tolkien’s secondary world. In this course, we will explore the history of Númenor, with particular focus on important events, significant people, the geography of the island, and the evolving culture of the Númenóreans.

Special Note: We are excited to announce that Brian Sibley, noted for his BBC Radio adaptations of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, as well as for his many books on Tolkien, will be joining us in one of the sessions (Date tbc). He is going to talk to us about his work on the new book The Fall of Númenor, and will be available to answer any questions you might have.
Precepted by Dr. Sara Brown

The Music of Middle Earth

In this module we will explore the musical storytelling of works related to the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. This discussion-based course is not targeted to musicians, and no prior musical knowledge or skill set is required. Rather, the course seeks to discuss how music can tell stories, and how music interacts with text, poetry, and adaptation. A familiarity with the work of Professor Tolkien is very helpful.

This course will study three types of musical adaptation: music inspired by Tolkien’s writing, work that has taken Tolkien’s poetry and put it to music, and music written for adaptations of Tolkien’s work. Each of these types of composition comes with their own unique storytelling approaches and outcomes.
Precepted by Jack Schabert

The Realm of Arnor

This module will be about the history and lore of the realm of Arnor. It will cover its geography, kings, civil war, wars with Angmar, and important artifact sites.
Precepted by Knewbetta

'The Rings of Power' Discussion Group

The wait is over and Amazon’s new Tolkien-inspired series has come. Already, this series has stimulated much heated discussion across various social media, with the images and trailers dividing opinion among Tolkien fans. In this discussion group, we will watch the show and discuss what we have seen, linking it to what we already know about Tolkien’s creation, and exploring the ways in which ‘The Rings of Power’ is extending the world of Middle-earth.

Access to copies of The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is desirable. Prior knowledge of the texts is also desirable, but you could manage without. Knowledge of The History of Middle-earth series and The Unfinished Tales is a bonus!

The Second Age of Middle-earth

The Second Age of Middle-earth saw the rise and fall of Númenor, the rise and (apparent) fall of Sauron, and the creation of the Rings of Power. This course will look at the events of the Second Age with readings from LOTR (especially Appendix A and B), Unfinished Tales, and the Silmarillion. It will be of particular interest to people who want to know more about the Second Age to be ready for the Amazon Prime series LOTR: The Rings of Power starting in September 2022.
Precepted by James Tauber

The Women of Beowulf

Yes, there are indeed women in Beowulf. Vital and potent women in fact. From the valkyrie-esque figures to the weeping peace-weavers, a broad spectrum of women characters exists as both historical representation and imaginative mythology. Grendel's Mother is ferocious and masculine. Hildeburh laments the death of her brother and son before being carried off. Modthryth behaves like a sadistic queen. Wealhtheow is mindful of so much in her husband's hall. Freawaru seems destined for tragedy. And could the dragon be a female too? Maria Headley seems to think so. This module will explore this topic using dual-language editions of texts so we can see the original language alongside translations by J.R.R. Tolkien, Roy Liuzza, and Maria Headley.
Precepted by Dr. Chris Vaccaro

Tolkien And Alchemy

Transformation and the process of transformation, either physical or of the self, is a significant theme in Tolkien’s writing and appears throughout the Middle-earth legendarium. In this SPACE course, we will explore how the practice, philosophy and symbolism of alchemy resonate in the texts and provide another way to read the changes that are apparent throughout. Amongst other topics, we will look at the Music of the Ainur and Tolkien’s creation myth, the recurring symbolism of the alchemical colours: Black, White and Red, the metaphor of Gold, the nature of the One Ring, and Frodo as alchemical subject.
Precepted by Dr. Sara Brown

Tolkien and the Classical World

Based on the preceptor's edited volume, Tolkien and the Classical World, this module takes students on a tour of the classical influences and ideas on the life, writings, and thought of English fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien, while also introducing seminal Greco-Roman texts to those without any classical background.

Tolkien and the Romantics: Dark Romanticism and the Gothic Literary Tradition

The Gothic genre has inspired many creative minds to explore the darker realms of human psychology and the wider world, sparking fear, terror, horror and repulsion in its audience. J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth is as much a ruined Gothic wasteland as it is an idyllic utopia. From Shelob's cave and the hypnotic Mirkwood to the Paths of the Dead and the Barrow-Downs, this module will examine Tolkien's use of Dark Romantic and Gothic techniques that were used by writers such as Horace Walpole, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and E.T.A. Hoffman to strike terror in the heart of their readers.

The module will follow an 8-lesson structure as follows:
• Lecture 1: The Funk of Forty Thousand Years: A Literary History of the Gothic
• Workshop 1: Chilly Echoes in Tolkien's Middle-earth
• Lecture 2: Bottomless Supernatural: Terror, Horror, Abject
• Workshop 2: Conjuring Creepy Creatures
• Lecture 3: The Weird, the Eerie, and the Dark Side of the Mind
• Workshop 3: Defamiliarising Middle-earth
• Lecture 4: Ruined Landscapes
• Workshop 4: What is left? Can the Gothic recover Middle-earth?

Note: The hybrid 8-lesson structure above is the new format for this module moving forward.
Precepted by Will Sherwood

Tolkien and the Romantics: Forging Myth and History

J.R.R. Tolkien famously 'found' his legendarium, translating and editing The Red Book of Westmarch for his twentieth century readers. This is not the first time an author has 'forged' a 'lost' literary history as James Macpherson's 'Ossian' documents from the 1760s started a craze for forgeries. Thomas Chatterton's Rowley and Turgot manuscripts similarly fed off the Ossian controversy while questioning what it really meant to 'forge' a document.

The module will follow an 8-lesson structure as follows:
• Lecture 1: The 1760s, the Age of Forgery
• Workshop 1: Which Red Book are we reading?
• Lecture 2: The Growth of Romantic Nationalism
• Workshop 2: The Book of Lost Tales: a mythology for which England?
• Lecture 3: Oral Traditions: Immortality and Youth
• Workshop 3: Vocalising Myth and History
• Lecture 4: Textual Traditions: Mortal Anxiety and Tangible History
• Workshop 4: Writing myth and history

Note: The hybrid 8-lesson structure above is the new format for this module moving forward.
Precepted by Will Sherwood

Tolkien and the Romantics: Imagining and Dreaming

The imagination and dreams are essential parts of J.R.R. Tolkien's world building which he explored across many stories from 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'On Fairy-stories' to 'The Notion Club Papers'. The same can be said of the Romantics who saw an important connection between the two. In works such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' and 'Kubla Khan', Lord Byron's 'The Dream' and 'Darkness', and Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein', the imaginary and dream-like meet with awe-inspiring, melancholy or blood-chilling results.

The module sessions are structured as follows:
• Class 1: The Realms of (Childhood) Faery (60m)
• Class 2: Faery’s Enchantment (60m)
• Class 3: The Terror of the Night (60m)
• Class 4: The Past is an Imagined Dreamworld (90m)
• Class 5: Visions of the Apocalypse (60m)
• Class 6: Senses and Sensation (60m)
• Class 7: Glimpses, mere Fragments (90m)
Precepted by Will Sherwood

Tolkien and the Romantics: Nature and Ecology

J.R.R. Tolkien's revolutionary depictions of nature have inspired many to respect and cherish the environment. However, if we journeyed back two hundred years, we would discover that radical British Romantic authors were also challenging how readers perceived their surroundings! In this module, we will use ecology to explore the many parallels and contrasts between Tolkien's Arda and the Romantic's portrayals of nature big and small: mountains and meadows, woods and wildernesses, daffodils and dead marshes. This will include examining how characters react to the environment, nature's existence as separate from our own, and the broader concern of the Industrial Revolution's destructive potential.

The module will follow an 8-lesson structure as follows:
• Lecture 1: Visions of Nature
• Workshop 1: What do your Elf-eyes see?
• Lecture 2: All things Sublime and Beautiful
• Workshop 2: Sublime, Beautiful, or both at once?!
• Lecture 3: I want to see mountains!
• Workshop 3: One with our environment
• Lecture 4: Ecology without Humanity
• Workshop 4: What is actually out there beyond the Human sphere?

Note: The hybrid 8-lesson structure above is the new format for this module moving forward.
Precepted by Will Sherwood

Tolkien and the Sea

From the subcreation of Ulmo to travels from Cornwall to Avallonë, the Sea has played a special role in Tolkien’s world. This module looks at key instances of the Sea’s appearance in his writing corpus so that fellow readers can more fully appreciate the haunting beauty of water’s meaning and Tolkien’s imaginative ability. We will be reading excerpts from Tolkien’s legendarium, poetry, and creative historical works.
Precepted by Jennifer Rogers

Tolkien's Collected Poems 1

Now that Hammond and Scull are releasing their magisterial “Collected Poems of J.R.R. Tolkien,” the time is ripe for a dive into Tolkien’s poetic works. In this first module, we will begin with an orientation to Tolkien’s career as a poet, and then we will focus in on the poems of his earliest period as a writer — the poems he was writing when he still thought it might be as a poet that he would make his mark on the literary world.

The module will be structured as follows:

Week 1: Overview of the Poetic Corpus and Tolkien’s Career
Week 2: Introduction to the Early Poems
Week 3-4: Close look at 1-2 poems (in each session)
Precepted by Dr. Corey Olsen

Tolkien's Great Tales: The Children of Húrin

Although they were never completed in his lifetime, JRR Tolkien wrote what he considered his three "Great Tales" of the Elder Days and intended them to be a significant part of his wider Silmarillion. These Tales are The Tale of Beren and Lúthien, The Children of Húrin, and The Fall of Gondolin. Some parts of these Tales can be found within the published version of The Silmarillion, but the more recently available individual books provide additional and extensive details for each story.

In this course, we will have a ‘read-along’ discussion of The Children of Hurin. Each session we will consider our close reading of a section of the story, examining Tolkien’s use of language and narrative structure, as well as exploring ideas about what each Tale tells us about Tolkien’s secondary world.

Access to a copy of The Children of Hurin will be necessary, and you may find having a copy of The Silmarillion very useful.
Precepted by Dr. Sara Brown

Tolkien's Great Tales: The Fall of Gondolin

Although they were never completed in his lifetime, JRR Tolkien wrote what he considered his three "Great Tales" of the Elder Days and intended them to be a significant part of his wider Silmarillion. These Tales are The Tale of Beren and Lúthien, The Children of Húrin, and The Fall of Gondolin. Some parts of these Tales can be found within the published version of The Silmarillion, but the more recently available individual books provide additional and extensive details for each story.

In this course, we will have a ‘read-along’ discussion of The Fall of Gondolin. Each session we will consider our close reading of a section of the story, examining Tolkien’s use of language and narrative structure, as well as exploring ideas about what each Tale tells us about Tolkien’s secondary world.

Access to a copy of The Fall of Gondolin will be necessary, and you may find having a copy of The Silmarillion very useful.
Precepted by Dr. Sara Brown

Tolkien's Great Tales: The Tale of Beren and Lúthien

Although they were never completed in his lifetime, JRR Tolkien wrote what he considered his three "Great Tales" of the Elder Days and intended them to be a significant part of his wider Silmarillion. These Tales are The Tale of Beren and Lúthien, The Children of Húrin, and The Fall of Gondolin. Some parts of these Tales can be found within the published version of The Silmarillion, but the more recently available individual books provide additional and extensive details for each story.

In this course, we will have a ‘read-along’ discussion of The Tale of Beren and Lúthien. Each session we will consider our close reading of a section of the story, examining Tolkien’s use of language and narrative structure, as well as exploring ideas about what each Tale tells us about Tolkien’s secondary world.

Access to a copy of The Tale of Beren and Lúthien will be necessary, and you may find having a copy of The Silmarillion very useful.
Precepted by Dr. Sara Brown

Tolkien’s Invented Languages in The Lord of the Rings

In this puzzle-solving course we will work to piece together Tolkien’s invented languages based primarily on how they are used in The Lord of the Rings. Although much richer linguistic information became publicly available later, this course will look primarily at those aspects of the languages revealed through the main text and appendices of The Lord of the Rings.
Precepted by James Tauber

Tolkien's Letters

Tolkien’s letters offer scholars and fans alike a revealing, amusing, at times touching glimpse into the Professor’s understanding of his own life and work. In our course we’ll look at a bit of everything, but especially Letter 131, where he tried to explain it all.

Tolkien's Macbeth: Shakespeare and Evil in Middle-earth

Tolkien's take on Shakespeare is often misunderstood, but Macbeth helped Tolkien refine his understanding of fantasy and fairy-story, and The Lord of the Rings's portrayal of how we fall into evil owes much to Macbeth. Nothing is evil in the beginning. Even Macbeth was not so.

Tolkien's Poetry

JRR Tolkien is one of those rare authors whose poetry is as accomplished as his prose writing. Up to this point, though, those who wished to focus primarily on Tolkien’s poetry had to access a significant number of books and online resources to do so, as they were scattered far and wide. Now, a Most Delightful Event has occurred – for the first time, a collected volume of Tolkien’s poetry is available, and it is a Tome of Significant Size!

In this hybrid course, we will read and discuss a selection of these poems, enjoying them for their aesthetic appeal as well as analysing them for Tolkien’s style, use of language, and the poetic forms he employed. This is a hybrid course, in which one class per week will be a lecture and the second class will be group discussion.

There are so many poems in this volume that the intention is to spread the course over five months. If you can’t make one or more of the months, feel free to dip in and out as suits you!

I am also delighted to announce that one lecture session per month will be led by the one and only James Tauber, who will focus on language and the formal elements of the poetry.
Precepted by Dr. Sara Brown

Tolkien's Unfinished Tales

The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth is a collection of stories and essays by J.R.R. Tolkien which are filled with all the wonderful elements of story-telling that are to be found in The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and yet, for some reason, they are less well-known and less studied. Some, like ‘Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner’s Wife’, offer a compelling insight into the Second Age and the time of Númenor. Others, such as ‘The History of Galadriel and Celeborn’, ‘The Quest of Erebor’, or ‘The Hunt for the Ring’, shed further light on the events of the Third Age that are so familiar to readers of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. We will discuss some of these stories and place them in the context of the other Middle-earth works.

Access to a copy of The Unfinished Tales is essential. Prior knowledge of the stories within is desirable, but you could read them as we go along.
Precepted by Dr. Sara Brown

Tolkien's Writing Systems

This module will study various writing systems invented or adapted by Tolkien. We will primarily look at the Tengwar and the Angerthas (Cirth) described in The Lord of the Rings but we will also touch on other systems such as the Hobbit runes and other runic variants as well as the Goblin Alphabet from Letters from Father Christmas. Along the way we will introduce some basic phonetics and place Tolkien’s inventions in the context of the writing systems of the primary world.
Precepted by James Tauber

Tolkien, the Anglo-Saxon Minstrel

Explore Tolkien’s Anglo-Saxon poetic inspiration. We will enjoy an introduction to a few Anglo-Saxon poems and then compare Tolkien’s adaptations to their Anglo-Saxon counterparts. Discussions of poetic style and technique will be with us along the way! Texts discussed include Beowulf, The Fall of Arthur, and other poems.
Precepted by Jennifer Rogers

To Repair Arda: Tolkien's Dwarves through Jewish Mysticism

J.R.R. Tolkien explicitly and publicly associated his subcreated race of the Dwarves with the Jewish people. This raises all sorts of interesting questions and problems, not least of which is why does he do this, and what within Jewish culture is he referring to? Usually scholars point to Dwarven language and Dwarven history for this association, but in this class we will explore the possibility that at the deepest level Tolkien is also drawing upon aspects of Jewish mysticism to support his claim.
Precepted by Dr. Robert Steed

Vampires, Werewolves and Wights – Oh My! Uncanny Creatures in Middle-earth

There are dragons in Tolkien’s works, of course, as well as Ents, Trolls, and Orcs, all enabling Tolkien to give shape and dimension to his world of Middle-earth. Less discussed amongst readers of the legendarium are the weird creatures that sit in the shadows – the ones designed to really make the back of your neck prickle. In this course, we will discuss these more troubling inhabitants of Middle-earth, with some close reading of the texts to guide our way.

Access to copies of The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is essential. Prior knowledge of the texts is desirable, but you could read them as we go along.
Precepted by Dr. Sara Brown

When Tolkien Wrote Time-Travel

Tolkien’s essay into the time-travel genre is little known and even less likely read. However, his "Lost Road" and "Notion Club Papers" showcase his grappling with concepts at the heart of his legendarium. This module highlights those works, taking readers through a genre study, philological walkthrough, and conceptual discussion of the fragments. Buckle in for a Tolkien-guided adventure through Earth’s history back to the time of the Elves.
Precepted by Jennifer Rogers
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].